Protecting Ontario Drivers and Reducing Costs in the Auto Insurance Industry
Ontario continues to take action to protect consumers and help them save money on auto insurance.
As part of the Auto Insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy, Ontario is helping ensure that cost savings in the auto insurance system are passed on to consumers by:
- Providing the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) with the authority to require insurers to file for rates.
- Making the Superintendent's Guidelines, which are incorporated by reference in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, binding to help prevent unexpected costs.
- Expanding and modernizing the Superintendent's investigation and enforcement authority, particularly in the area of fraud prevention.
The first expected reporting of approved rate reductions by FSCO will be in January 2014. With all the measures the government has put in place, the government expects that first report to show an approved average rate reduction of three to five per cent.
Delivering real, positive change to auto insurance in Ontario
In 2003-04, the government introduced its first package of auto insurance reforms to reduce costs and allow savings to be passed on to Ontario drivers. In consultation with consumer and stakeholder groups, the government developed cost-saving measures to enable insurance companies to reduce their rates by an average of 10 per cent.
Reforming auto insurance to offer choice and save drivers money
In September 2010, the government introduced its second major package of reforms to Ontario's auto insurance system to address claims costs. These reforms reduced costs, increased consumer choice and ensured consumers have quicker access to necessary medical treatment. These also simplified administrative and other process burdens within the system to ensure that those injured in an auto accident have faster access to necessary treatment.
With this change, drivers are now offered a new standard level of auto insurance coverage to help reduce their auto insurance premiums and can buy-up additional levels of medical and rehabilitation coverage. The measure allows drivers to buy coverage that best meets their individual protection needs and budgets, while stabilizing insurance premiums in Ontario.
The reforms included:
- Offering a wider range of options on medical and rehabilitation benefits, attendant care, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, caregiver benefits, tort compensation and compensation for property damage.
- Protecting consumers by strengthening the prohibition on the use of credit scoring, delays and other questionable screening techniques when providing quotes.
- Streamlining a number of processes to reduce transaction costs and ensure more accident benefit dollars go to treating accident victims.
As a result of the reforms, costs were reduced and rates stabilized.
Going forward, the government will continue to look at basing auto insurance benefits on medical evidence by directing the regulator to provide an interim report this year on the progress of the Minor Injury Treatment Protocol project.
The government will also complete its study on amending the definition of catastrophic impairment in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.In addition, the government will continue investigating additional new measures to reward safe driving and reduce costs and premiums.
Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force
In January 2013, the government took early action to address some of the reforms proposed by the task force and build on earlier actions taken to combat fraud and protect consumers.
These amendments will help prevent auto insurance fraud and protect consumers by:
- Requiring insurers to provide claimants with all reasons for denying a claim.
- Giving claimants a bi-monthly, detailed statement of benefits paid out on their behalf.
- Requiring claimants to confirm attendance at health clinics.
- Making providers subject to sanctions for overcharging insurers for goods and services.
- Banning providers from asking consumers to sign blank claims forms.